White House tallies impact of shutdown

Nov. 7, 2013 at 6:00 PM
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WASHINGTON, Nov. 7 (UPI) -- The White House on Thursday said the government shutdown in October hurt U.S. production, delayed service and fee collections and stung consumer confidence.

The White House Office of Budget and Management estimated U.S. production dropped by $2 billion to $6 billion, which is the equivalent of a gross domestic product decline of 0.2 to 0.6 percentage points, an executive summary on the 16-day shutdown says.

There is no final dollar figure for the impact of the government furloughs brought about by a budget impasse, the report says, as some of the impact cannot be translated easily into dollars, such as the dive in consumer confidence as measured by the Gallup poll takers, the report concludes.

The report estimates the impact on job creation is about 120,000 jobs that were not created in the first two weeks of October due to the shutdown.

Beyond that, the list is long for the number of services put on hold, reports not published, fees not collected and National Parks without visitors.

The National Gallery in Washington, for example, generally welcomes 12,000 visitors per day in October, meaning roughly 200,000 people were turned away during the shutdown.

About 715,000 visits to national parks were derailed, the report says, and those visitors spend $33 million per day in local communities that rely on tourism, the report says.

The shutdown wiped out the equivalent of 6.6 million work days for the roughly 800,000 workers laid off at the start of the shutdown, although that number was cut down sharply when the Defense Department called workers back to their jobs.

Taxpayers spent about $2.5 billion on pay and benefits for federal workers who were sent home in what amounted to an unscheduled 16-day paid vacation granted to federal employees.

The list of lost opportunities includes halted permits and environmental reviews, a delay in granting export and import licenses and a costly delay to Alaskan fisherman due to the disrupted king crab season.

The shutdown prevented thousands of patients from enrolling in National Institute of Health clinical trials, the report said.

The Small Business Administration was unable to process 700 applications for $140 million in small business loans. The Federal Housing Agency was unable to process 500 loans to developer to fix or build rental housing units.

About $7 million in fees went uncollected in the 16-day shutdown, the report says.

About $4 billion in federal tax refunds were delayed. In addition, the IRS normally collects $1 billion per week through enforcement activities, the report says, and that didn't happen for more than two weeks. workshops for 1,400 military service members to help them transition to civilian life

There are other estimates to consider. Standard & Poor's estimated the shutdown subtracted 0.6 percent off annualized fourth quarter GDP. Goldman Sachs estimated the shutdown scratched 0.14 percentage points per week from the GDP.

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